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Oriental Weavers, Sphinx on new ground

Sphinx and Oriental Weavers of America (OWA) will be about more than just area rugs coming early next year, when the sister companies launch several new home textiles categories, including top-of-bed goods, throws, decorative pillows and bath rugs.

Mike Riley, executive vice president with Sphinx, said his company and OWA are looking "to offer the total package" to retail partners and potential new customers starting in 2005.

"Everyone is feeling the pressure to expand their offerings and become more important to vendors," Riley explained. "Retailers are cutting back on the number of vendors they want to work with. They want to be able to get total coordination from a single source, and not have to work with 15 different suppliers."

For the production of the new product categories, the sister companies are "lining up new overseas sources and installing new tufting equipment in Egypt and China," Riley said.

The preview of the new lines is set for mini-market in February 2005. The official launch is slated for April during the New York Home Textiles market.

As part of this effort, OWA is appointing Steven Sorrow to the newly created position of vice president of product development for U.S. operations.

"He is going to be spearheading this effort in the expanded home categories," Riley said. "He is very talented and does fabulous work."

Reporting to Riley and Steve Stultz, senior vice president with OWA, Sorrow will be responsible for development and sourcing of the new product lines as well as managing the design and product development team in the United States. He will also provide color and product direction to the company's design team at headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

Most recently, Sorrow was vice president of design and product development for Springs Industries Beaulieu Home Fashions division.

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